CHICAGO — Jarred Cosart was pumped to go up against one of the best starters in baseball.
Cosart's outing started slowly before he quickly bounced back to give the Astros six strong innings of one-run ball, but Houston's bullpen failed him in a 6-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
"You got to be nervous before every game, but you know you're going up against (Chris) Sale," Cosart said. "He's an All-Star, he's going to make a lot of money and he's throwing the ball extremely well. Especially last game, he gave up eight runs, a guy like that, a number one guy, he's not going to have two bad outings in a row."
Cosart opened the game with a walk to Leury Garcia then allowed back-to-back singles to Gordon Beckham and Jeff Keppinger to load the bases. After pitching coach Doug Brocail came out to the mound for a chat, Cosart struck out Adam Dunn. Paul Konerko followed with an RBI single, but Cosart escaped with minimal damage by inducing a double play grounder against Avisail Garcia.
"Brocail thought I was working really fast and he asked if I was all right," Cosart said. "I said, `Yeah, just a little excited.' So I just kind of got back in my comfort zone, both of them coming over to talk and calm me down a little bit. And that helped me out from there."
Cosart had every right to be nervous facing Sale (10-12), who bounced back from an embarrassing start Friday night against Texas in which he allowed a career-worst four home runs. Against Houston, he gave up only one run on four hits, struck out 12 and left to standing ovation after allowing his second walk of the game.
Astros manager Bo Porter said Sale performed as expected.
"He was vintage Chris Sale," Porter said. "He's a strikeout guy, power arm and was pretty much lights out. We hit some balls hard, but they were able to make plays. Other than that, he was pretty dominant."
Sale became the first pitcher in White Sox history to have 12-plus strikeouts in four starts. He also dropped his ERA to 2.99. His only blemish came in the seventh when Chris Carter sent a two-out, 421-foot solo shot into the left field bleachers to tie the game 1-1. It was Carter's 26th of the season.
While both starters delivered strong performances, it was when the Astros went to their bullpen that things went awry.
The White Sox broke the 1-all tie in the seventh when Leury Garcia scored on Keppinger's sacrifice fly to shallow center field off Astros reliever Lucas Harrell.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura indicated that Leury Garcia's speed was the type of spark the White Sox needed.
"He just seems to be in the middle of everything," Ventura said. "When you have that kind of speed to get on and everybody knows you're probably going, and to steal it and get in scoring position and then score on a pretty shallow fly ball, again, that kind of speed is not everywhere."
Harrell (6-15) then allowed back-to-back walks and Avisail Garcia followed with his first home run with the White Sox to put them up 5-1.
But it was Leury Garcia's speed on the base paths that really set the tone for the inning. Garcia led off the inning with a walk, stole second and advanced to third when catcher Cody Clark's throw to second went into center field. It appeared as though second baseman Jake Elmore was late in covering the bag, allowing what looked like a good throw to sail into the outfield.
"I really felt like I made some good pitches," Harrell said. "And then I thought Clark made a nice throw to second base. I don't know if there was some miscommunication, but that happens."
Notes: Leury Garcia, acquired from Texas in a trade involving OF Alex Rios, walked twice and scored two runs while driving in a run on a sacrifice fly for Chicago. ... Grossman had his 14-game hitting streak snapped. ... White Sox OF Alejandro De Aza and SS Alexei Ramirez each got the night off.